black hat seo

Black Hat SEO’s Biggest Offenders

When it comes to the world of SEO, there is a good side and a dark side. “White hat” SEO are those techniques that follow search engine guidelines and are intended to help readers rather than just boost rankings. Then, there are the questionable tactics of some companies to trick Google and other search engines into higher rankings. These techniques fall into the category of “black hat” SEO.

How do you know whether you are donning a white or black hat? Here are some of the top black hat techniques and the steps to reverse them so you can remain in good standing with search engines:

black hat seo

 

Keyword Stuffing

Back in the old days of SEO, site developers thought that you needed to use your targeted keyword as much as humanly possible. Let’s say you have a site for a company that sells coconut water. This is an absolutely terrible example of content for that site:

If you love coconut water, you should buy our coconut water. Why should you buy our coconut water? Because our coconut water is delicious, and it has the lovely coconut water taste that you have come to aspect from coconut water. In addition, our coconut water company is dedicated to continue selling the best coconut water of all coconut water.

Some websites actually do this! Not only that, but the keyword would be dispersed other places, such as the titles and alternative text for pictures.

Believe it or not, search engines are smart. You don’t have to use your keyword a million times for Google, Bing, or other search engines to recognize that your site sells coconut water.

keyword-stuffing

What you should do instead:

  • Use your keywords wisely. It is important to target appropriate keywords, but instead of stuffing them everywhere, put them in logical, strategic places, like the page title or categories.
  • Write engaging content. When coming up with content, remember that actual people are reading your site. It doesn’t matter if tons of people find your site if they run screaming after seeing your text. You want to use your keywords while still remaining helpful and interesting to potential customers. Going back to the example, you could say, “Why should you be drinking coconut water? It contains antioxidants and high levels of potassium, plus the coconut taste adds a refreshing spin to your average water.”

 

Doorway pages, cloaking, and hidden text

If you are trying to hide more keywords on your site, chances are that you, my friend, are wearing a black hat. There are many ways of hiding extra keywords, such as doorway pages, which are optimized for a specific keyword without keeping the user in mind. Some doorway pages use cloaking, which means that actual people on the Internet can’t see the site although web crawlers can.

It is also “black hat” to add in invisible text, or extra keywords in the same color as the background, so the words are visible to search engines but not the viewer. Making a link the same color as regular text can even be consider spam.

 

What you should do instead:

  • Get indexed. Rather than hide mediocre and spam-filled pages, create high-quality pages, and make sure they will show up on results pages by sending a sitemap to Google.
  • Show off your pages. Share your content across social media as well. The more viral your content becomes, the more visitors you will have.

 

Link farms

Link farms are websites that publish tons of links that don’t relate to each other. The basic purpose of these sites is not to add value to the Internet but simply to get the links in—it’s spam at its finest.

If search engines detect these sites and recognize that they do not have valuable content, they will de-index the sites and flag the sites that are being linked to. Don’t associate your website with a link farm to bump your search engine rankings because it can be detrimental to your site in the end.

 

What you should do instead:

  • Link to sites that are relevant and helpful. There’s nothing wrong with linking when it’s appropriate. Your own website can link to content that you think would be beneficial to your readers. You can also contact the owners of sites that relate to your site or product: for example, you might offer to write an article about the nutritional benefits of coconut water for a health site and include a link back to your company.
  • Add your site to directories. Instead of a link farm, why not add your site to a directory with a specific niche? Not only will you get a little link power, but potential customers are likely to come across your business this way.